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Statement from NSW Solicitor General regarding a referral from the Independent Commission Against Corruption

Issued: 24 July 2015

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The Attorney General has received the following statement from Solicitor General Michael Sexton SC. No further comment will be made.


  

QUESTION OF COMMENCEMENT OF CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST MS MARGARET CUNNEEN SC, MR STEPHEN WYLLIE AND MS SOPHIA TILLEY FOR ATTEMPTING TO PERVERT THE COURSE OF JUSTICE PURSUANT TO S 319 OF THE CRIMES ACT 1900 (NSW) AND GIVING FALSE EVIDENCE CONTRARY TO S 87 OF THE INDEPENDENT COMMISSION AGAINST CORRUPTION ACT 1988 (NSW)

 

On 27 May 2015 the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption referred to the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Lloyd Babb SC, correspondence and supporting material in relation to the question of the sufficiency of evidence concerning the commencement of criminal charges against Ms Margaret Cunneen SC, Mr Stephen Wyllie and Ms Sophia Tilley for attempting to pervert the course of justice pursuant to s 319 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and giving false evidence contrary to s 87 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 (NSW).   

By letter of dated 29 May 2015 Mr Babb referred this question to the NSW Attorney General, Ms Gabrielle Upton MP, pursuant to s 29 of the Director of Public Prosecutions Act 1986 (NSW). 

By letter of the same date, the Attorney General referred this question to the NSW Solicitor General, Mr Michael Sexton SC, for all necessary consideration and action.  Under s 126 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW) the Solicitor General is authorised to sign an indictment on behalf of the Crown. 

In past cases where similar questions have been referred to the Solicitor General, the decision whether or not there be sufficient evidence to warrant the commencement of criminal charges has been made on the basis of an advice from Counsel instructed by the NSW Crown Solicitor.  In this case, however, given the role of Ms Cunneen in the NSW legal profession, the Solicitor General considered it preferable that such an advice be provided by Counsel from a jurisdiction outside New South Wales.  Accordingly, the Solicitor General arranged the provision of such advice from Mr Gavin Silbert QC, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the State of Victoria.  For this purpose Mr Silbert was provided with the material supplied to the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions by the Independent Commission Against Corruption. 

After consideration of the advice of Mr Silbert, together with the relevant material originally supplied to the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions by the Independent Commission Against Corruption and representations by the solicitors for Ms Cunneen, Mr Wyllie and Ms Tilley, the Solicitor General has determined that an indictment should not be signed in relation to charges against either Ms Margaret Cunneen SC, Mr Stephen Wyllie or Ms Sophia Tilley for attempting to pervert the course of justice pursuant to s 319 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and/or giving false evidence contrary to s 87 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 (NSW).